NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate Launches Center for Sustainability, to Support Applied Research and Education Programs

The NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate has launched a new Center for the Sustainable Built Environment (SBE@NYU Schack) to support increased research and education about improved, “evidence-based” industry practices in the area of sustainable real estate development and investment. The Schack Institute, within the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies, has been for 40 years NYU’s home for graduate and continuing education and applied research in the fields of real estate and construction management.

“Developing energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly buildings and infrastructure, and supporting technologies and regulations which allow that development to happen, are chief among the challenges facing the real estate industry today,” says NYU Schack Institute Divisional Dean James Stuckey.

“The new Center for the Sustainable Built Environment will directly impact the practice of real estate development, financing, and construction, and broaden the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate’s role as a leader of industry discussion, innovation, and action in this critical area.”

This initiative coalesces several efforts by the Institute to address the issue of sustainability: the newly available professional Certificate in Sustainable Design, Construction, and Development, to educate architects, engineers, and other real estate practitioners on LEED standards and applications; the appointment of faculty with particular expertise in sustainable development and technologies; and curricular changes throughout the graduate real estate and construction management programs, to name just a few.

“Real estate development has a significant impact on energy and material resources, environmental quality, social equity and neighborhood stability, and the health, well-being, and productivity of building occupants,” says Clinical Assistant Professor Constantine Kontokosta, the new director of the SBE@ NYU Schack. “Growing concern about these issues has catalyzed developers toward sustainable practices, but there remains a large gap between theory and practice.” In addition to teaching, Kontokosta co-owns a New York City-based “green” development firm and is vice chairman of the Suffolk County (NY) Planning Commission.

To date, much of that theory comes from research conducted in academic areas such as environmental science and engineering or from the technology industry, explains Kontokosta. “To bridge the gap and actually affect the way the real estate industry performs, we need to define and identify best practices, effective measurement tools, and better ways to facilitate ongoing innovation,” he says. “The Schack Institute’s particular focus on practice-based education, and connecting academia and industry, positions us well to take on this challenge.”

The SBE@NYU Schack will be active on several fronts. Initially, the Center aims to connect the Institute with other programs at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies and New York University, as well as academic, government, and industry-based entities elsewhere, to create a multi-disciplined research agenda. This agenda will support original applied research, working papers, and case studies that examine practices and emerging sustainability technologies.

The SBE@NYU Schack also envisions starting a peer-reviewed journal, sponsored by the Schack Institute, and hosting a regular program of conferences, workshops, lecture series, and podcasts to disseminate the growing body of knowledge. Further, the Center is planning for a competition in 2010 for sustainable development business plans submitted by graduate students nationwide, to be judged by a panel of sustainability experts and real estate industry leaders.

Within the Schack Institute, the SBE@NYU Schack will guide further expansion of an integrated sustainable development curriculum in the graduate and noncredit programs and develop new courses and seminars for industry practitioners.

About the NYU Schack Institute and the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies-The NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate, one of several comprehensive academic divisions within the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYU-SCPS), was founded in 1967 and is the University’s home for graduate and continuing education programs, industry conferences, and applied research in real estate, construction management, and related fields. Established in 1934, NYU-SCPS is among the 15 colleges and schools that comprise New York University, one of the largest private research universities in the United States. Through its faculty, curricula, and vibrant professional and academic networks, NYU-SCPS captures the expertise of key sectors where New York leads globally: Real Estate; Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management; Global Affairs; Philanthropy; Communications Media, Publishing, Design, and Digital Arts; Business, Marketing, and Finance; and the Liberal and Applied Arts, among others. Rigorous and timely programs in these and related areas attract undergraduate and graduate students immersed in university life, working professionals in 14 graduate degrees, and New Yorkers of all backgrounds enrolled in approximately 2,500 continuing education courses, certificate programs, conferences, and seminars annually. NYU-SCPS is widely considered to be the most complete example of NYU’s founding commitment to be “In and Of the City”-and “In and Of the World.”

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